>Banned Book Week is celebrated annually to raise awareness that there are those who would like to tell us what to read and what to think. I am spotlighting some books this week that are on the American Library Association’s Top 100 list of books challenged or banned for libraries, both school and public. While I have great respect for the rights of parents, I also believe one’s rights must end where mine begin. I believe in equality, and there are those who don’t. I believe that racism isn’t just about black and white, it’s about all races, and it’s ugly.
Harper Lee does a wonderful job pointing out this fact in the brilliant book To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout is a character that resonates with me as does her father, the quiet, soft-spoken Atticus. This book has been challenged for its racial slurs, language and open descriptions of rape. I don’t know that I’ll ever understand why teaching moments have to be cotton candy. Life is far from pretty, and to show it as less than pretty is ludicrous. This book won the Pulitzer Prize, and to not discuss it in educational settings is to discount not only the topic, but the intelligence of young people today.
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man’s struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
One of the best-loved classics of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many dis-tinctions since its original publication in 1960. It has won the Pulitzer Prize, been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. It was also named the best novel of the twentieth century by librarians across the country (Library Journal). HarperCollins is proud to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the book’s publication with this special hardcover edition.